European Summit Challenge
Spain - Mulhacén (3479m)

Last updated December 2004

INTRODUCTION

To many people's surprise, Spain's highest mainland peak lies not in the Pyrenees of northern Spain, but in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Spain's southern coasts. Here the Sierra Nevada National Park was formed in 1955. The park has an area of 86.208 hectares and includes more than 40 towns in the provinces of Granada and Almería. There, more than a dozen peaks over 3,000 metres break the skyline, including the two highest on the Spanish mainland, Mulhacén (3,482 metres) and Veleta (3,398 metres). A traverse that includes these peaks is a fine objective.

GETTING THERE AND AWAY

I took a Go flight to Madrid and an overnight train to Granada. This was cheaper than taking alternative budget flights to the Spanish southern cities. Check current prices. From the rail station at Granada take a bus to the city's coach station from where there are buses to Capileria and other villages in Las Alpujarras.

By Rail

Visit the website of the national railway network of Spain (RENFE), www.renfe.es for timetables and fares.

By Car

From Granada, the south side is reached by following the N-323 (Granada-Motril) as far as the crossroad to Lanjaron (44 km). The Park is reached after passing through this village, continuing to Alpujarras. From this road several secondary roads lead to other little villages sited in the south face of the National Park.

Also from Granada the Park is reached by following the road as far as "Sol y Nieve", the Sierra Nevada's winter sports resort. This road continues past the resort as far as the peak of Veleta. A Reception Centre is located in "El Dornajo" (km 23).

The north side is reached by following the dual carriageway A-92 as far as Guadix and Tabernas (Almería). From this road several secondary roads lead to other places sited in the north face of the National Park.

ACOMMADATION

Because I was travelling just out of season, I did not bother booking accommodation ahead of leaving the UK. In Capileria there are a number of small hostels and I stayed in the first I found. Once on the hill the refugios are un-manned and very basic. You will need to carry with you a sleeping bag, insulating mat, stove and food. Camping in the Sierra Nevada is permitted though officially permission should be sought from the park authorities before hand.

MAPS AND BOOKS

Map


Lonely Planet's Trekking in Spain 2nd edition appeared on the bookshop shelves shortly after my return. It was much updated from the 1sst edition and explained that the authorities had chosen to demolish the manned mountain huts over 3000m as part of an environmental project. A 3rd edition was published in 2003.


Map


Cartografia Militar de Espana 1:50,000 L Series Maps Güéjar-Sierra 20-42 and Lanjarón 20-43 cover the area required, and I used these on my trek. They were very outdated and inaccurate.

However Editorial Alpina have since released a 1:40,000 map of the "Sierra Nevada - La Alpujarra" which has contours at 20m, the locations of footpaths and huts. It comes with a booklet in English. ISBN 848090075X.


For an on-line, scaleable map visit MultiMap.


USEFUL LINKS

www.andalucia.org is the official tourist website for Andalucia and this can also be useful in planning your trip.

Also check out www.spain.info for general tourist informaton covering the whole of Spain.


MULHACÉN
Looking back at Mulhacén, Terreras Azules, and Lagunas de Rio Seco where the Refugio Felix Mendez should have stood.

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